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Posted by Rachel on October 19, 2016

Something new and fun: Sickle Cell and Hula Hooping – Day 2

I started this challenge primarily for health benefits.

 

As stated in my previous blog post I was diagnosed with Sickle Cell Anaemia prior to even being born which was then confirmed at birth. As a result, I’ve battled with the condition in various ways throughout my life.

 

I’ve had many periods of hospitalisation, I’ve had operations, and have even been diagnosed with comorbidities (conditions co-occurring with a primary disease or disorder – in my case Sickle cell Anaemia).

I was diagnosed with avascular necrosis (AVN) in both knees AND both hips

In fact in 2015, after an extremely difficult period of excruciating pain and discomfort within my legs, I was diagnosed with avascular necrosis (AVN) in both knees AND both hips. It was at this point that my life started to look bleaker than ever before. I was now confronted with the possibility of the use of my leg being severely restricted and pending operations to replace all four joints. The pain had got so bad at this point that I was using crutches to move around.

I was feeling like a 30-year-old in a 60 something-year-olds body

I could feel my body stiffening up as the days went by, I was feeling like a 30-year-old in a 60 something-year-olds body (and it doesn’t help that I could still pass for a teenager). One of the most devastating realisations came when I wore my favourite pair of (4 inch not 6 inch) heels and I struggled to stay standing. I was so embarrassed that day. I had been in heels since what feels like the beginning of time and my love for shoes felt like a relationship that was meant to be. This relationship came to a heart breaking end that very day. I ended up not only in an episode of AVN pain that lasted 2 weeks straight with no let-up, but a continuous crisis that also lasted weeks.

But this challenge isn’t about what I haven’t been able to do, it’s about what I am going to be able to do.

To some, it may be just a hula hoop but to me, it is a whole lot more

To some, it may be just a hula hoop but to me, it is a whole lot more

With this hula hoop, I have the chance to exercise and get that all important recommended (by the NHS, 2011) 150 minutes a week of physical activity. And it’s probably been since 2011 that I last attempted to undertake any form of physical activity, which means way before my son’s birth and my son is now 4 years of age.

 

I wanted an activity that would raise my heart rate and get my blood pumping. After all, circulation is one of the main issues with Sickle Cell. I needed to engage my hips and knees as I am trying to strengthen my joints in order to reduce any further deterioration and if I strengthen all four joints enough to eliminate the consistent discomfort then hey, that’s a great, big, fat bonus. I also needed the activity to be low impact so that no further damage to my joints would occur as a result.

 

So there you have it, one thing that was able to provide all the above plus being something fun and new happens to be hula hooping.

 

It wasn’t until after this decision that while researching I was delighted to find out that hula hooping happens to be connected to spirituality. After hooping for a few days, I can kinda see why, and I am so excited to explore even more.

 

My favourite part of day 2 was going out to buy my son his own hula hoop, he saw mine on day 1 and I explained that although “mommy doesn’t yet know how to hula hoop I want to practice every day to so that I’ll get better and better”. My son watching and participating in my journey makes it even more special because I get to teach him through actions a life lesson that will stay with him forever.

 

Follow my 30 day Hula Hoop Journey
Follow my 30 day Hula Hoop Journey

Follow my journey by following me on the following platforms, where I will be sharing more pictures and videos

@rachelakinsanya – Instagram

RachelFunmilolaAkinsanya – Facebook

Posted by Rachel on October 18, 2016

I set myself a 30-day Hula Hoop Challenge Despite Having Sickle Cell Anaemia

 

I almost can’t believe I’m setting myself up like this [insert nervous laugh here].
I set myself a 30-day Hula Hoop Challenge despite having Sickle Cell Anaemia

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You see, normally I shy away from physical activity because I’ve always viewed myself at a disadvantage.

Having Sickle Cell makes day to day activities like walking, climbing stairs, household chores a challenge.

Having Sickle Cell makes day to day activities like walking, climbing stairs, household chores a challenge.

 

First there’s the pain factor; experiencing sickle cell pain or a crisis will limit mobility to extremes that most people are unable to comprehend

 

Then there’s the energy factor; I have two copies of the sickle gene, resulting in haemoglobin Hb SS, also known as Sickle Cell Anaemia. This means that my haemoglobin levels average around 75 grammes/L, whereas a healthy female my age averages around 120-155 grammes/L (according to www.mayoclinic.org). As a result, I experience a significant reduction in energy, thus creating a significant reduction in my physical capabilities.

 

This has always been the case throughout my life, as a child, I noticed that 20 minutes in the playground would often lead to me ending up in the school nurse’s office due to over exerting myself or due to an onset of a crisis.

 

The physical limitations became more obvious as I got older, my older body couldn’t do some of the things my younger body could do and I found the best way to deal with it was by avoiding any form of exercise or strenuous activity. I started opting for alternatives to walking anywhere or I would even avoid going to places that were hard to get to all together. I remember the word lazy being thrown around and although I didn’t agree with being referred to as lazy I started to except that I was, in fact, there was a period that I also joined in and called myself lazy!

 

Surely, I was right? If I couldn’t do what others found so easy.

 

Surely, I was right? If I couldn’t do what others found so easy
It was years before I would realise that my choice of opting out was a need to survive and avoid becoming ill.
People would look at me like I was crazy when I’d say that exercising made me ill. I wished that it wasn’t the case but when I ended up in a crisis after attempting a few gentle beginner yoga poses from the comfort of my own home I called it quits. Exercising no matter how low impact obviously wasn’t for me.
Until now.

 

I’m a believer in holistic living, and I know the importance of mind, body and soul all being aligned.
My mind is sound, after all, as a life coach mindset and positive psychology are kinda my expertise!
My spiritual state is one of complete alignment, how do I know? I see the evidence within my reality, manifesting is no longer a challenge and I am completely lead by intuition and love the wonder of living life this way – this is something I also teach.

 

My body, however, has always been my biggest challenge, no surprise really. Being diagnosed with a genetic condition even before being born is kind of a setup.

 

My body, however, has always been my biggest challenge, no surprise really. Being diagnosed with a genetic condition even before being born is kind of a setup.

 

So, here I am a few days into my 30-day hula hoop challenge
And it’s here I’d like to state my intentions

 

I intend to hula hoop every day for 30 days.
I intend to improve on my non-existent hula hooping skills each day
I intend to record my progress
I intend to have fun
I intend to improve my health
I intend to increase my fitness
I intend to show that 30 days of anything is enough to create a habit
I intend to explore and embrace all benefits that may come from this activity

 

Follow my 30 day Hula Hoop Journey
Follow my 30-day Hula Hoop Journey

There’s so much more to my journey and I have decided to tell my story as I go along

 

 

Follow my journey by following me on the following platforms where I will be sharing my progress
@rachelakinsanya – Instagram
RachelFunmilolaAkinsanya – Facebook

Posted by Rachel on July 1, 2016

Happy half year! 1st July 2016

Thanks to 2016 in all it’s 366-day leap year glory, today (1st July) is the EXACT midpoint of the year… With 183 days passed and 183 days to go. 

And I am going to celebrate like it’s my birthday!! Well, not really, but I am going to celebrate (minus cake and champagne) by posting my very first blog post on my brand new website. Eeek, I’m so excited, it might as well be my birthday.

 

I’ve had such a blessed first half of this year and I am super excited for the second half. 2016 is the year I started taking action, I pulled up my socks and started to act like a big girl.

 

person-girl-shoes-colorful-medium

I pulled up my socks and started to act like a big girl.

I can totally feel that there is a new energy that can be tapped into the second half of this year. NOW would be the perfect time to start your new projects and let the momentum of this new energy carry you all the way to completion with limitless success.

Here are 3 quick ways to align yourself to maximise the impact of this new half of the year.

  1. Set intentions
  2. Meditate 
  3. Partake in a gratitude session

Setting new intentions when ever you are entering something new is always a good idea, whether it is a new week, new month, new moon or new year. All you need for this task is a pen and some paper, although you may want to invest in a journal if this becomes a practice that resonates with you and you wish to continue whenever you reach a new ‘new’. An intention journal will also enable to keep track of intentions you’ve written in the past, I find that I can easily gravitate towards my gratitude sessions just by realising what I’ve accomplished through intentions I’ve set.

 

Meditation is the perfect way to calm your mind, body and soul. There is no penalty If you don’t meditate often, but you may want to use this opportunity to get a session in whether is the first of 2016 or the fifty third time.

 

I personally love a good gratitude session. It is such a simple and easy concept that requires no effort but to recall all things you are grateful for. That’s it (I did say it was simple). Try to find at least 21 great things that have happened to you within the first half of this year. The trick is not to rush and take your time to really think about how fortunate you are to wake up each day with 24 hours to spend. Write them down and savour each blessing as you write, if you are recalling a funny moment allow yourself to really go there so much so that you smile or even laugh due to the memory.

 

Here are a few of my personal gratitude moments from January to July:

  1. I AM grateful for more physical well being than previously experience
  2. I AM grateful for new love
  3. I AM grateful for new opportunities
  4. I AM grateful for new business partnerships
  5. I AM grateful for achieved goals
  6. I AM grateful for the surprise I received two weeks ago

I wish you luck with the above task and feel free to let me know how you get on.